Azteca laurae

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Azteca laurae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. laurae
Binomial name
Azteca laurae
Guerrero, Delabie & Dejean, 2010

The holotype was collected in the mature forest of the Parque Estadual Guajara Mirim, Rondonia, Brazil, using a Malaise trap.

Identification

Guerreo et al. (2010) - Azteca laurae is a member of the Azteca aurita group with an inverted, cone-like (cuneiform) head whose sides strongly diverge from the lateral region; surface of head smooth and shiny, with very thin and weak punctations visible laterally by tilting the specimen (dorsal-oblique view), although these one more noticeably visible in the ocellar region (full frontal view).

The gyne of this species is closely similar to A. aurita, differing in the amount and distribution of the hairs on the dorsum of the head and the scapes. A. laurae has very few short hairs on the genae, while the anterior part of the head of A. aurita is covered with a uniform vestiture of short, dense, white pilosity. The scapes of A. laurae are sparsely covered with short hairs, while those of A. aurita are densely covered by the same type of pilosity present in the dorsal region of the head. Another notable trait is the shape of the head, the sides of which are almost parallel in A. aurita, while in A. laurae they diverge posteriorly, resulting in a cuneiform-shaped head; the vertexal margin in A. laurae is wider and slightly more concave than in A. aurita.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Western Amazonian Brazil.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

All known Azteca species are arboreal, nesting in living or dead wood, or external carton nests. Some species exhibit obligate associations with myrmecophytes, especially of the genus Cecropia (see Chapter 14 of The Ants). Feeding habits are generalized with foraging occurring both arboreally and on the ground.

Castes

Known only from the queen caste.

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • laurae. Azteca laurae Guerrero, et al., 2010: 58, fig. 7 (q.) BRAZIL.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Queen

Holotype: HLA 1.56, HLB 1.62, HW 1.46, AHW 0.90, SL 1.24, EL 0.36, OCW 0.06, CI 94, SI 79, MTSC 0.

Head: Palpal formula 4,3. Dorsal and ventral surface devoid of any type of hair, although very short and sparse hair covers a small portion of the genae. Dorsal surface of mandibles completely smooth and shiny, clearly seen in spaces between the sparse, long hairs. Masticatory margin of mandibles armed with four teeth and two denticles.

Clypeal plate covered with abundant short, nearly erect pilosity; medial clypeal lobe strongly convex, projecting outwards, with hairless anterior ridge extending well beyond lateral clypeal lobes. Vertex with prominent, rounded corners deeply excavated in middle in U-shape with gently-rounded tips. Ocelli in a loose clump, forming a dark stain in dorsoposterior region. Scapes barely reaching extensions of vertex; scapes and funiculus covered with abundant, short, sub-decumbent pilosity, shorter than maximum width of scape.

Mesosoma: Smooth and shiny, with no conspicuous hairs, only a few very short, appressed hairs becoming sparser towards katepisternal and propodeal region. Dorsal side of propodeum almost equal in length to posterior surface, nearly undifferentiated due to absence of a defined boundary; propodeal spiracles weakly protruding. Middle and hind tibiae lacking spurs.

Metasoma: Petiolar node triangular, sloping gently posteriorly; posterior margin almost twice as long as anterior; petiolar lobe weakly convex behind; ventral surface roughly parallel to dorsal surface. Gaster hairless, surface polished and very shiny.

Body reddish brown, surface smooth and reflective.

Type Material

Holotype (gyne): BRAZIL, Rondo nia, Parque Estadual Guajara´ Mirim, 10°19’17’’S, 64°33’47’’W, #5256, Malaise trap, 02 Mar. 1998 (J.R.M. Santos) Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau.

Etymology

The name is in honor of Laura Mariano Delabie, the second author’s daughter.

References